Friday, November 25, 2005

Lard - the healthier choice?!

I had a fantastic lunch today - Thai Crispy Chicken and only after I'm about to finish the dish, I realised why the dish was so delicious: lard. loads of lard.

Lard! Some of you may cringe to know that I actually enjoy eating lard especially the deep fried ones. Well, before you condemn lard (or me, for that matter), it may be of interest to know that lard is actually a rather misunderstood fat.

In the blind pursuit of healthy food, many people had put a stop on cooking and eating anything with lard, prefering instead to stick to butter, margarine and vegetable shortening, simply because they were told that it was the healthier choice. But is it really?

Animal fat, being saturated fat, is said to be bad for the bloodstream and arteries. That, I do not deny. However, there is also another form of bad fat that is often overlooked - the trans fat. Whenever you eat anything that contains partially hardened vegetable oil, you are eating trans fatty acids. These unwholesome trans fats shoot extra LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) into your arteries while batting away the other, good cholesterols.

In this 'anti-lard' times, food such as french fries are often cooked in a "partially hardened vegetable shortening" cooking oil rather than saturated animal fat. This is despite the fact that potato deep-fried in a good lard may be cooked in less time at a higher temperature, thereby leaving less total fat imbedded in the finished, more thoroughly cooked, less soggy, less rancid food product. The fat in French fries cooked with "partially hydrogenated vegetable shortening can be as much as 46 per cent trans fat! (Old-fashioned lard had zero per cent trans-fat.)

In case you havent got it, trans fats are very bad. very bad indeed. Worst than saturated fat which might actually be healthy (if taken moderately) according to this site.

But I'm digressing. Enough about trans fat. Back to the good old lard.

It may be surprising to note that lard contains just 40 percent saturated fat. Before you protest that 40% is alot, it may be good to compare this figure to butter which has nearly 60%. The level of monounsaturated fat (the "good" fat) in lard is at a very respectable 45 percent, which is comparable to double butter's paltry 23 or so percent.

Not only is lard healthier than butter, it is also a whole lot better than butter (or vegetable oil for that matter) when it comes to cooking finger-licking good food. Nothing can beat lard in making the best pie crust, the type that flakes so wonderfully under a fork. You've got to try it to believe it.

But, before you scramble to include plenty of lard in your diet, remember, too much of a good thing is still BAD! ^^

Read more about why trans fat is bad and lard is better: [link1] ; [link2] ; [link3] ; [link4]

the author anticipates the return of lard on her dinner table... slurp!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right On!! Even as a semi-vegetarian who rarely eats meat I still prefer lard in my microwave burritos to trans fat... yuck.

1:43 AM, January 11, 2006


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